February 7, 2011 | Ken Reed

Train Strikes Truck in NY, Killing Driver: Root Cause?

I came across this article today describing an accident where a passenger train struck a tractor-trailer truck last month.  The driver of the truck was killed, although no passengers or crew on the train were injured.

It appears the truck driver decided to drive around the gates.  The news report states that the gates were lowered and the lights were flashing, but the driver attempted to get to his destination (just yards down the road) by by-passing the gates.

Not a lot more detail here, but (being TapRooT® trained!) I have a lot of further questions I would be interested in asking:

  • What is the timing of the gates?  Later in the news report, the video shows the gates coming down as an engine crosses the road. This may be due to the fact that the engine may have been in the process of switching out a damaged engine, but this timing is definitely a question.
  • Do drivers often go around these gates?  This road looks like access to the final destination plant.  Do other drivers do the same thing?
  • Was this driver in a hurry?
  • Was weather a factor (lots of snow and ice)?

What other questions do you have about this accident?  A SnapCharT® would be EXTREMELY helpful here to really understand what was going on.

It’s too easy to assign “driver error” as the root cause of this accident.  I’m sure the driver didn’t intentionally pull out in front of a train.  What was really going on in this case?

Root Cause Analysis
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